By Midge Pierce

Demolition Harms Climate Too

When it comes to climate change, our ecologically-minded city is steeped in contradictions. The sustainable practice of preserving the embodied energy of existing homes, for instance, seems to fly in the face of proposals like the Residential Infill Project (RIP) that incentivize tear-downs.

Not all houses can be saved, says Jordan  of Earth Advantage’s Safe & Sustainable Site Certification. The environmental impact of demolitions can be reduced through deconstruction rather than mechanical demolition.

Using heavy demolition equipment is a process that can release lead dust up to four hundred feet from construction sites, potentially raising lead levels in children. The certification program is a partnership with Metro.

Jordan, a proponent of historic preservation and adaptive re-use, says, if buildings can not be preserved, recycling materials salvaged in deconstructions is the next best option.

The manufacture, transportation and installation of materials are environmentally wasteful. “You do it once,” he says. Then when you scrape a building, you do it all over. It’s inexcusable to send building materials to a landfill.”

Currently, deconstruction is required for structures built before 1917 or for designated historic resources. Mechanical demolition is still allowed for newer homes providing recent abatement measures (strengthened in recent years) are undertaken.

Transit Makes Fed Hurdle

As residents brace for another round of dodging e-scooters, navigating narrowing streets, maneuvering around diverters, and worrying about the carbon footprint of buses, a highly questioned rapid transit service planned along Division is moving toward fruition.

Some $87 million in federal funding has been approved for the Division Rapid Transit Project to connect Gresham to Portland, largely along traffic and construction-choked SE Division.

The fifteen mile project with a total cost estimate of $175 million is intended to provide safer, more reliable transportation east of 82nd.

Closer-in SE critics question the project’s efficiency and sustainability, fearing it will clog local roadways by pushing traffic and parking off Division and onto neighborhood streets.

Emergency Water in Your Backyard

Preparing for major earthquake or climate catastrophes, the Richmond Neighborhood Association is offering two options for water storage as part of its Emergency Preparedness initiatives.

Pre-used triple-hot rinsed fifty-five gallon barrels are available for $30. They are recommended to supply a family of four with two weeks of water. Five gallon stackable containers are $7.

While other schools and neighborhoods have offered barrels in the past, Richmond Ready is the first to offer the five gallon containers.

Committee Chair Callie Jones says, “We want to make preparedness as equitable as possible, so the smaller size is great for smaller spaced dwellings and the price is affordable to many.”

Proceeds cover shipping costs and help fund future Emergency Preparedness initiatives and partnerships with area schools and organizations.

Available to all residents, containers must be ordered by May 13. To order see: bit.ly/2vtp08Q

If Dizzy Is your Thing

Celebrating the earth and our eco-friendly city can be dizzy making. Last month’s three-year-old Ladd’s 500 circle ride was a uniquely Portland way to salute spring by going round and round Ladd’s main traffic circle five hundred times.

According to the website, cyclists were instructed to form teams and switch riders at least ten times during the race.

“This is a dumb idea I had once,” organizer David Barstow Robinson wrote. “It’s a way to trick people into riding harder and farther than they would and also celebrating springtime and doing things for the sake of doing things.”

Full Block Development Proposed for SE Woodstock

Mill Creek Residential Construction Company (a nation-wide developer) plans to build a five-story mixed use development. It’s on an entire block of property at SE 48th and Woodstock, where the Joinery business and several rental houses are currently located.

Mill Creek has already been working with the City in anticipation of filing for permits and held a pre-application conference March 6. As part of that process, a pre-application neighborhood meeting was held April 11 to discuss the proposal with neighbors.

The development would include 178 residential units above at least five ground level commercial spaces.  The building would include 130 underground parking spaces. This means there would be parking provided for 73% of the apartment units.

Plans are still in the conceptual stage and are not expected to be complete for submission to the City for several months.

At the April meeting, close to two hundred neighbors voiced substantial concerns. One neighbor told developers, “Don’t turn Woodstock into another Division Street.” Others were concerned about parking, traffic, and infrastructure, as many of the side streets off of Woodstock are lacking in maintenance.

The Woodstock Neighborhood Association is in contact with the developer and has posted an information page at their website:  bit.ly/2DAFLnm.DK